New Model News

Buick adds premium Avenir trim level to Envision SUV for 2021

The Avenir trim level will be offered for the first time on the Envision.

Photo courtesy of Buick

The Buick Envision is getting the premium treatment for the 2021 model year. The automaker, who didn't change much about the two-row SUV for 2020 after giving it a significant upgrade for 2019, will add the 2021 Buck Envision Avenir as an option for buyers.

The five-seater SUV is designed to compete against premium SUVs like the Acura RDX and Infiniti QX50. It's not designed with sporty dynamics or brisk acceleration like luxury SUVs from Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW.

"The all-new 2021 Envision is part of Buick's strategy to grow its family of premium SUVs," said Duncan Aldred, vice president, Global Buick and GMC. "It joins the new 2020 Encore GX, which offers safety, functionality and styling tailored around the size and space preferences of today's small and compact SUV buyers."

2021 Buick Envision Avenir Typically, Avenir trim level models to not get performance upgrades. Photo courtesy of Buick

Think of Buick's Avenir grade like you do GMC's Denali models. Both brands use these designations for the most premium offerings within a product line.

Non-Avenir version of the Envision will be upgraded for 2021, getting a host of safety technologies including standard automatic emergency braking, front pedestrian braking, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, forward collision assist, following distance indicator, rear park assist, safety alert seat, and a high-definition rearview camera.

Additionally, the model will be available with enhanced automatic parking assist, high-definition surround view imagery, front park assist, rear cross traffic alert, lane change alert with blind spot alert, head-up display, and rear camera mirror.

The 2021 Envision will also offer Buick's first available 10-inch diagonal touchscreen infotainment system, and it will include in-vehicle apps, such as Amazon Alexa, Spotify, Pandora, and Fox Sports. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included.

The model will keep its turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, which generates 252 horsepower in the 2020 model. That engine is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission. Initial indications are that Buick will forego the 197-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that is in the 2020 version.

2021 Buick Envision Avenir The Avenir trim gives the Envision its most premium design features yet.Photo courtesy of Buick

More details for the Envision, including for its Avenir trim, will be revealed later this year. the 2021 Buick Envision arrives in the U.S. in early 2021.

Pricing for the model has yet to be announced. The 2020 Envision starts at $36,995 and tops out just south of $50,000 when boxes to option it close to the offerings of 2021 model are checked. Expect the Envision Avenir to be priced north of that figure.

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Electric vehicle production

GM outlines huge investment in new EV production

The $7 billion number is GM's largest single investment to date.

General Motors

Automakers are not shy about their plans to electrify their vehicle lineups. In fact, it's just the opposite, as most can't wait to release a media kit that sings the virtues of moving toward electrification and outlines their commitments to investing billions to make the move a reality. General Motors has been more active than most, building new facilities and revamping existing factories to handle new-age EV manufacturing. Today, the auto giant announced a further investment to build a new plant and overhaul the Orion Township facility in Michigan. The move creates thousands of jobs and positions GM as an early powerhouse in the EV race.

GM EV investment. GM says its new and existing facilities will create and retain thousands of jobs.General Motors

The $7 billion investment is slated for four Michigan manufacturing facilities. GM says the move will create 4,000 new jobs and retain 1,000 existing positions, and notes that the amount represents the single largest investment in company history. A new Ultium Cells battery plant in Lansing is part of the deal, along with the conversion of the GM assembly planting Orion Township. Orion will eventually house production of the upcoming Chevrolet Silverado EV and the electric GMC Sierra, making it the second of GM's facilities dedicated to building electric pickup trucks.

The Orion and Ultium Cells Lansing facilities will help GM boost its total full-size electric truck production to 600,000 units per year when both Factory Zero and Orion are in full swing. Though Ford sells more full-size trucks than Chevy or GMC individually, GM notes that the two combined move more trucks per year than The Blue Oval. The two plants join General Motors' existing EV-ready facilities that include Factory Zero in Detroit-Hamtramck, Spring Hill Assemble in Tennessee, CAMI in Ontario, and the Ramos Arizpe Assembly facility in Mexico.

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Electric vehicles

NHTSA looking into Tesla's in-car video games

Some owners have discovered that their car's video games work when the car is moving.

Tesla

Tesla's vehicles are among the most advanced and forward-thinking products of any kind, but serious innovation doesn't come with tradeoffs. The automaker has been in the news recently because of issues with how its advanced cruise control systems function, and now, Autoblog reports that the NHTSA is asking questions about Tesla giving drivers the ability to play video games and browse the internet while driving.

Tesla Arcade hands-on: the Model 3 is your video game console youtu.be

The feature is intended to be used while the car is parked, such as while charging, so the discovery that people can use them while driving is a serious one. Vince Patton, the person who filed the complaint with the NHTSA, tested his car and found that he could play Solitaire and a fairly involved action game while it was in motion. Internet browsing was also possible, meaning the driver could take their attention completely off the road ahead for extended periods of time.

Tesla Model 3 Tesla's screens offer advanced functions that many others do not. Tesla

Tesla was already under investigation over crashes involving its Autopilot feature. Several collisions have occurred between Teslas and emergency vehicles stopped on the side of the road. Following the initiation of that investigation, the NHTSA raised other questions with the automaker over a buggy software update that was pushed out, retracted, fixed, and reissued outside of the normal recall process. Despite their names, it's important to clarify that neither the Autopilot nor Full Self-Driving features are capable of driving the cars without driver awareness and input.

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